Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.
The takeover bid of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) led the Ottawa conversation last week. Pundits are tuning into the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's report, which raises red flags about foreign takeovers by state-owned companies.
Federal opposition parties have continued to drive the issue by focusing on security threats. More Canadians now feel wary of the $15.1-billion takeover deal.
Watt says Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to step up instead of playing a waiting game. "He needs to get out there with a story about what the security implications are and why it's okay to accept this deal for the economy and yet protect us from the Chinese threat."
Motion 312: When life begins
Conservatives were divided last week when voting on a private member's motion that would arguably re-open the abortion debate. Rona Ambrose, minister for the Status of Women, voted for the motion, which called on the House of Commons to re-examine the Criminal Code definition of when human life begins.
Even though the motion did not get enough votes to pass in the House, Watt says the abortion debate will resurface in Ottawa. As for the issue's level of traction, he says, "This is the perfect kind of issue to be driven by social media. Where years ago it would have gone away, it may have some life in it."
Going forward, Watt suggests the government should handle the situation more carefully. He says Ambrose's failure to explain why she voted for the motion was a missed opportunity for the Conservatives.
Trudeau's leadership bid
Both Ottawa and Canada are focused on Justin Trudeau's bid for the federal Liberal leadership. But opinion on Trudeau is divided: some are convinced he has what it takes to lead the party, while others see him as an untested choice.
If Trudeau's leadership run deters others from joining the race, Watt says the lack of contenders could hurt the party.
"Leaders do better when they're tested in the fulcrum of a leadership campaign. They don't do well when they have a coronation."
Trudeau’s intentions to run for Liberal leader got the most traction across Canada. Watt says he'll be watching what Trudeau does with his galloping head start.
Watt anticipates that the Canada-wide meat recall will dominate the Traction radar. He's also interested to see how the U.S. presidential debates and Omar Khadr's return to Canada resonate in Ottawa and across the country.
Here are the numbers for the week of Sept. 22 to 28: